Competency Differences between Baccalaureate nurses and Associate degree nurses
The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), policy advisors to
Congress and the Secretary for Health and Human Services on nursing issues, has urged that at
least two-thirds of the nurse workforce hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing by 2010.
Baccalaureate Nursing Program
Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. The additional course work ...view middle of the document...
Associate Nursing Program
On the other hand, students entering associate degree nursing programs are focused on learning the technical aspects of nursing appropriate to providing direct care to patients and families, mostly in acute care settings. The associate degree nursing students learn the knowledge and skills required to care for
individuals and families during illness and restoration after medical treatment, and usually practice a more restricted level of nursing care. The knowledge and nursing competencies are limited to direct hands-on patient care in the hospitals and community health facilities. The associate degree nursing programs have fewer units and teach only the basics of leadership needed for RN supervision of other health providers. The associate degree nursing programs do not prepare the nurses for graduate study.
One might think, "Well I want to be a bedside nurse and not a manager." The BSN nurse can and does provide excellent direct patient care. In fact research shows they use evidenced-based practice for better patient outcome, another difference in the ADN vs. BSN level of education. Numerous research studies have demonstrated that the ADN and BSN nurses are not different in skill competency when they graduate, but within a year, the BSN nurses show greater critical thinking skills, better problem solving, and the development of clinical judgment; three skills of increasing importance for
the increase in acuity of patients in hospitals and other health care settings.
Today, many hospitals are applying for the ANA Magnet status and prefer to employ BSN graduates. They encourage their own staff to go back to school for their BSN degree or they give preference in hiring to new BSN graduates. Many hospitals will pay the BSN graduate more, either to start, or through more frequent increases in...